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New Zealand historian to receive honorary doctorate

16 Nov 2015

This content is tagged as Literature .

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Victoria University of Wellington’s Council will confer an honorary doctorate on historian Dr Jock Phillips in the University’s December graduation ceremonies.

Dr Phillips has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand history—in particular to aspects of national identity and national character, says Victoria’s Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan.

“We are delighted to recognise Dr Phillips for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand history and culture. He has been instrumental in developing innovative ways of presenting historical studies to a wide audience.”

Dr Phillips completed a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria before heading to Harvard University where he completed a Master of Arts and a PhD in History.

In 1978, Dr Phillips returned to Victoria where he taught in the History Department before he founded, and became the first director of, the Stout Research Centre for the Study of New Zealand History, Society and Culture.

Although Dr Phillips has strong connections to Victoria, much of his career has taken place outside the University.

He was Chief Historian at the Department of Internal Affairs from 1989 to 2002.

During that time, Dr Phillips held the position of Conceptual Leader (History) for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, for the four years leading to its opening in 1998.

He was also the Acting General Manager, Heritage, at the Department of Internal Affairs from 1997-2000.

Since its inception in 2002, Dr Phillips was the editor of Te Ara—the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, and remained at the Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage until his retirement in 2014.

Dr Phillips has achieved recognition in the form of scholarships and fellowships including selection as a Fulbright Visitor to the United States in 1992, Ian Ward’s prize for the best book in New Zealand history in 2009 and the Pou Arohanui Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011.

He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 and in 2014 was awarded Life Membership of the Professional Historians’ Association of New Zealand, as well as a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement.

He has published on diverse subjects including the New Zealand male persona, rugby, war memorials, royal visits and immigration to New Zealand.

For more information contact Kristina Keogh on 04-463 5163 or kristina.keogh@vuw.ac.nz